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4th May 2021

Access Explained: the path to university

What is Access to HE?

Our Access to Higher Education (HE) diplomas have been designed for learners who are either returning to education or have left school without the qualifications required to be able to progress on to higher education and university.

The courses provide students with a good level of understanding about their chosen subject to prepare them for an undergraduate degree at university and come with UCAS tariff points to help them secure their place.

Who is Access for?

Access to HE Diplomas are available for anyone aged 19 and over. So if you have left school without A Levels (or an equivalent) but decide you want to go to university, Access to HE Diplomas could be the perfect solution. The qualification is designed to allow learners to go on to study at degree level or progress in their employment.

Is Access suitable for older students?

Absolutely! Access to HE Diplomas can be an ideal route back into education for mature students. We know that re-entering education after any period away can be daunting and we will make sure you get the support you need whilst studying at the college to help you to achieve your full potential.


A Student Learning With Headphones On At The Campus
A Student Learning With Headphones On At The Campus


How long does the course take?

All of our Access to HE courses take one year of full-time study to complete.

How much study time is required?

Typically, students who are completing the Diploma spend around 12 hours per week studying, so it can easily be studied alongside other commitments. We also offer our allied health Access course as an evening class.

Is Access recognised by universities?

Access to HE courses are widely recognised by UK universities as an alternative to ‘traditional’ qualifications for entry into undergraduate degree courses. In fact, many universities across the UK are directly involved in the creation of courses and many actively encourage applications from Access to HE Diploma holders.

How many UCAS points are they worth?

UCAS tariff points are hugely important for getting into university. For an Access to HE Diploma, UCAS tariff points are anywhere between 48 and 144 points, depending on the grade you receive. It’s therefore possible for Access courses to generate the same amount of UCAS points as A Level or BTEC courses.

What does the course include?

All Access to HE courses are designed to equip students for university level study in a specific subject or subject area. The content will therefore vary on the subject area you choose, but all courses will generally provide you with the knowledge and skills required for university and equip you with the study techniques required to be successful at that level.

How does it compare to A Levels or BTEC?

Just like A-Levels and BTECs, our Access to HE Diploma is a full Level 3 qualification, so it meets the same academic demands.

How is the Access to HE Diploma assessed?

Units are formally assessed in a variety of ways. This may include exams and portfolio work, depending on the Diploma.

What subjects are available as an Access to HE course?

We offer a variety of Access to HE courses, including:

– Allied Health Professions and Nursing

– Business & Finance

– Engineering

– Humanities

– Professions in Teaching and Education

– Science

– Social Science

– Law and criminal justice

What is the success rate like?

Last year, Access to Higher Education had a pass rate of 99.5%.

91% of last year’s Access who applied for university were successful in securing a place, most of them (83%) went onto study at universities in the North West, with 71% joining universities based in the Liverpool City Region.

What subjects could I go onto study at university after my Access course?

Here are some of the subjects our students from last year (2020-2021) have gone onto study at university:

Access to HE Diploma What our learners from last year are studying at university
Business Accounting and Finance

Business and Management

Business and Public Relations

Business Management




Education Professions Education and English Language

Educational Psychology

Primary Education with QTS  (5-11)

Special Educational Needs and Sport & Physical Education


Engineering Aeronautical Engineering with Foundation Year

Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies


Civil Engineering

Computer Science

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Mechanical Engineering


Allied Health Professions Adult Nursing

Child Nursing

Mental Health Nursing




Paramedic Science


Humanities Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

Creative Writing and English Literature


English Literature and History



Law and Criminal Justice

Philosophy and Politics


Science Biochemistry

Biological Sciences

Biomedical Science

Dental Therapy

Diagnostic Radiography




Veterinary Medicine


Social Science Childhood & Youth and Social Policy

Forensic Psychology

Psychology and Sociology

Social Work



Who is the college’s awarding body for Access to HE courses?

We work with Ascentis, an award-winning provider of cutting-edge qualifications for education, training and business in the UK and overseas. To find out more about them, visit:

How can I find out more about Access to HE courses?

To find out more about our course options and to begin your application, please click here.

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